Archive for September, 2011

September 25, 2011

Ride the wave out(Peach Infused Cream Puffs)


Our bodies bobbed up and down in the crisp cold water. seaweed tickled our toes as it was pushed by the coming waves. The noise of lapping water on the hard sand and kids in the distance laughing was all that could be heard. We glanced out into the expansive ocean, no words were spoken, just a quick glance at each other confirming this was the one. Theres the short amount of confusion in whether we should get closer or sit tight and wait for the wave to sweep us up. The moment was coming, the moment of riding the wave, we gripped our boards and turned our backs to the oceans and threw our bodies down. In a quick few seconds we were lifted in the air, being pushed forward, by a foaming cool mass. The water gathered around our bodies moving us forward; toward the quiet beach. Before we knew it we were beached on the hard sand, the water had retreated leaving us still. Our laughter was now the only thing that could be heard. We dove back into the salty clear water. The silky water greeting us like an old friend. We repeated that experience all day. The rough voice of my teacher awoke me from my day-dream. I was in my math, weeks had gone by since I had been at the beach submerged it’s refreshing bliss. I sat up straiter and tried to focus on what he was trying to teach us.

Over the summer I worked at a lovely bakery, which is thankfully right next to the beach. I had taken an intensive math course over the summer while working there and didn’t have all the that much free time but when ever I had the energy I would go to the beach after work. It was my saving grace. There’s something about the beach that frees the mind, takes away stress and refreshes me. The light house in the distance making a quiet but continuous warning, the seals having conversations, and the aggressive waves hitting against the rocky cliffs.
These days I’m still working full-time at the bakery, taking a number of classes, and am an ambassador for an awesome organization. It keeps me busy, but never to busy to sit on the warm sand and enjoy the sparkling ocean view. As things get really tough this semester I tell myself this: Think of every challenge like a wave you would ride, it may seem huge and scary and you may feel like it will consume; like you won’t make it out alive, but if you just go right at it and ride it no matter how scared it will carry you to solid ground. The ride itself is always nice to, look around a bit. I hope everyone had a great summer.


Peach Infused Cream Puffs
I infused these with a peach flavored tea and it was a very subtle taste but perfect for cream puffs. Next time I think I might add pureed peach to give it a little more of the peach punch. This can also be infused with any other tea flavor the possibilities are endless.
Pate a choux
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
4 large eggs, plus 1 large egg white
Directions
1.Bring butter, sugar, salt, and 1 cup water to a boil in a medium saucepan. Remove from heat. Using a wooden spoon, quickly stir in flour. Cook over medium-high heat, stirring constantly, until mixture pulls away from sides and a film forms on bottom of pan, about 3 minutes.
2.Transfer to the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix on low-speed until slightly cooled, about 1 minute. Raise speed to medium; add whole eggs, 1 at a time, until a soft peak forms when batter is touched with your finger. If peak does not form, lightly beat remaining egg white, and mix it into batter a little at a time until it does.
Tart Dough
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar
2 large egg yolks
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons heavy cream
Directions
1.Put butter and confectioners’ sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix on low-speed until combined, about 2 minutes. Add egg yolks, and mix until combined, about 1 minute. Add 3/4 cup flour, and mix just until flour is incorporated. Add remaining 3/4 cup flour, the salt, and cream; mix until just combined, about 1 minute.
2.Shape dough into a disk; wrap in plastic, and refrigerate 2 hours or overnight.
Pastry Cream
2 cups whole milk
1/2 cup sugar
2 peach tea bags (or any flavor you want)
Pinch of salt
4 large egg yolks
1/4 cup cornstarch
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
Directions
1.Bring milk, 1/4 cup sugar, 2 tea bags, and salt to a simmer in a medium saucepan over medium heat.
2.Whisk egg yolks, cornstarch, and remaining 1/4 cup sugar in a medium bowl. Whisking, slowly pour about 1/2 cup of hot milk mixture into yolk mixture. Slowly add remaining milk mixture until incorporated. Pour mixture back into the saucepan, and cook over medium-high heat, whisking, until it begins to bubble in center and registers 160 degrees on an instant-read thermometer, about 2 minutes. Remove from heat; discard vanilla bean.
3.Transfer to the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Add butter; beat on medium speed until butter has melted and mixture has cooled, about 5 minutes. Cover with plastic wrap, pressing it directly onto surface to prevent a skin from forming. Refrigerate until cold, at least 2 hours or up to 2 days. Just before using, beat on low-speed or whisk by hand until smooth.

Directions
1.Line 3 large baking sheets with parchment paper or with nonstick baking mats, such as Silpats. Dip a 2-inch round cookie cutter in flour, and mark circles 2 inches apart on prepared sheets. Transfer pate a choux to a pastry bag fitted with a 5/8-inch plain tip and pipe puffs to fit in flour circles. Smooth peaks with a moistened finger, rounding tops to ensure even rising. Freeze pastry puffs on baking sheets until firm, about 30 minutes.
2.Meanwhile, sprinkle a clean work surface with 1/2 cup granulated sugar, and place tart dough on top of sugar, patting it into a round. Sprinkle another 1/2 cup sugar over dough, and roll to a scant 1/8-inch thick, coating both sides of dough with the sugar to keep it from sticking. Using a 1 1/2-inch cookie cutter, cut out 36 rounds, and place a round on top of each frozen puff. Return to freezer until firm, at least 15 minutes. Preheat oven to 375 degrees with racks in upper and lower thirds.
3.Bake puffs until pale golden brown all over, 25 to 30 minutes. Let cool completely on baking sheets on wire racks. Puffs can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature overnight.
4.Put heavy cream in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Beat on medium-high speed until stiff peaks form. Whisk the pastry cream to soften. Working in 2 batches, fold whipped cream into pastry cream. Transfer to a pastry bag fitted with a 1/2-inch plain tip. Insert tip into bottom of each puff, and fill. Dust with confectioners’ sugar. Cream puffs are best eaten within a few hours; refrigerate in an airtight container.